At 6ft 4in, Blanka Vlasic has used her height to become a highly successful high jump champion. But she doesn’t just count on lucky genes, Vlasic is also known for her dedication, strong work ethic and excellent coach, a former athlete who just happens to be her father.
Over the course of her career, Vlasic has made her home country of Croatia proud with 16 prestigious medals, including 12 gold, three silver, and one bronze. Vlasic had a career setback in 2005 and couldn’t compete in the Athens Olympics due to a thyroid condition but came back strong, and these days, she is preparing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Richard Metcalfe – 7ft
At an imposing 7 feet, rugby player Richard Metcalfe is an average of six inches taller than his competition and was the tallest player in international rugby. His enormous height and intimidating style of play kept the other players on the pitch on their toes.
The Scottish native achieved superstar status, won 13 Scotland caps, and played for prestigious clubs, including the Newcastle Falcons and the Northampton Saints. Unfortunately, Metcalfe’s burgeoning career was cut short due to a knee injury.
Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings – 6’3″
Kerri Walsh Jennings and her longtime team partner Misty May Treanor were one of the best beach volleyball teams in the history of the sport. This dynamic duo took home the gold in the Athens, Beijing, and London Summer Olympics. Standing at an impressive height of 6ft 3in, Jennings is not only one the tallest volleyball players in the world but also one of the best.
She has worked incredibly hard for decades, and her main goal is to bring more recognition to beach volleyball. These days, Jennings is training for the 2020 Olympics, where she is sure she will bring home the gold.
Suleiman Ali Nashnush – 8ft
Suleiman Ali Nashnush towers above the competition and is clearly the tallest athlete ever to play a sport. Although his height peaked at 8ft, he was “only” 7 feet 10in during his basketball career. After he retired, he continued to grow and became one of only 17 people in recorded history to reach 8 feet.
Nashnush was also an actor; he had a small part in the Fellini film Satyricon. Nashnush’s great height was part of an abnormal growth disorder and was corrected by a successful operation.
Yvetta Hlavacova – 6’4.5″
In 2006, long-distance Croatian swimmer Yvetta Hlavacova swam across the English Channel with an incredible time of 7 hours and 25 minutes. This was a new world record and an incredible feat for the towering 6 foot 4.5 inches tall athlete. Her long legs and big hands were definitely an advantage in her ability to cross the channel so quickly.
It is hard to believe, but before the record, Hlavacova was having trouble finding a swim club that would take her on. Afterward, she was immediately recognized as a rising talent.